Interview: No. 6 on Billboard World Music Chart

No. 6 on Billboard World Music Chart: Gothard Sisters of Edmonds
The Celtic-folk musicians have released a new album of all original music.

by Sara Bruestle at the Everett Herald

The Gothard Sisters of Edmonds have a new album out featuring all original songs. 

“Midnight Sun,” with new takes on traditional Celtic music, reached No. 6 on Billboard’s world music chart. 

Sisters Greta, 31, Willow, 28, and Solana, 23, have put out six albums — including two Christmas recordings — in their 10 years touring and performing as a Celtic-folk trio. Their latest album, released May 4, is the first that is 100 percent their own. 

After their annual Celtic Christmas concert at the Edmonds Center for the Arts, the sisterly trio, named “Best New Irish Artists” in 2013 by the Irish Music Awards, got to work recording “Midnight Sun.” 

“We didn’t set out intending to do an original album,” Greta Gothard said in a phone interview with The Herald while on the way to a tour stop in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “We had a bunch of traditional songs and cover songs we were thinking of doing, but we started out recording our original music, and it was so much fun that one day we were all like, ‘Hey, what if we tried doing an all-original album?’ “

They wrote all 12 Celtic-inspired songs on the new album together. Solana comes up with the rhythm, Greta writes the lyrics and Willow provides the melody. But the sisters give feedback and tweak each other’s work as they go. 

While the Gothards have written their fair share of originals, most of those songs have been instrumental. Writing lyrics for every song on their album was a new experience. 

“Just deciding what we wanted to write about was a challenge,” Greta said, “but it was also really fun and exciting to find out what our words were about.” 

The album’s title track “Midnight Sun” was inspired by the trio’s travels around Norway, the Land of the Midnight Sun. The sun doesn’t set during Norwegian summers because the Arctic Circle runs through Norway. 

“A lot of our songs do get inspired by the places we’re visiting when we’re playing shows,” Greta said. “So that’s an example of that.” 

Other songs about traveling and adventure include “Wandering,” “Hummingbird” and “Elderflower March.” The songs “Colors of Home” and “Mazama Mornings” are about feeling homesick and longing for home. 

Another song, “Rose, Marie and Heather,” is a nod to the Celtic tradition of writing songs about sisters. 

“(Traditionally) the sisters end up doing each other in, which we didn’t really want to do,” Greta said. “Our take has the sisters working together to defeat a fairy queen instead of tossing each other into the lake.” 

Also featured is a collaboration with New Age pianist Michele McLaughlin on the instrumental track “When the Rain Falls.” McLaughlin, from Utah, is well-known for her solo piano music and is a top-played musician on Pandora. 

Right now the Gothard Sisters are on a U.S. tour to promote the album. 

They were blown away when they saw their album was No. 6 on the Billboard chart. 

“We were really, really excited when we found that out,” Greta said. “It’s extremely unusual for an independent band to chart so high. We were No. 13 on the chart with our Christmas album, so this was a move up for us. 

“We’re really grateful to everyone who liked our music so much that they bought it (as soon as they could).” 

Mark your calendar -

The Gothard Sisters will perform a concert at 3 p.m. Aug. 19 at Edmonds City Park, 600 Third Ave. S. The free performance is part of the Edmonds Summer Concerts in the Park series, held from 3 to 4 p.m. Sundays, July 15 to Aug. 26, in the park. See the full schedule at www.edmondswa.gov/summer-concerts

The Gothard Sisters’ latest album, “Midnight Sun,” is available at www.gothardsisters.com.

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